Home' Greymouth Star : February 28th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, February 28, 2014 - 5
Armed men seized the parliament
in Ukraine's Crimea region
overnight and raised the Russian
ag, alarming Kiev's new rulers, who
warned Moscow not move troops
beyond the con nes of its navy base
on the peninsula.
Crimea, the only Ukrainian region
with an ethnic Russian majority, is
the last big bastion of opposition
to the new leadership in Kiev since
President Viktor Yanukovich was
ousted at the weekend and provides
a base for Russia's Black Sea eet.
Its regional parliament, meeting
in another part of the building that
was apparently still occupied by the
gunmen, voted to stage a referendum
on "sovereignty" for Crimea.
"I am appealing to the military
leadership of the Russian Black Sea
eet," said Oleksander Turchinov,
Ukraine's acting president, who
warned Russia not to move
personnel beyond areas permitted by
treaty for those using its naval base.
"Any military movements, the more
so if they are with weapons, beyond
the boundaries of this territory will
be seen by us as military aggression,"
Russia has repeatedly declared
it will defend the interests of its
citizens in Ukraine, and yesterday
announced war games near the
border involving 150,000 troops on
Although Moscow says it will not
intervene by force, its rhetoric since
the removal of its ally Yanukovich
has echoed the runup to its invasion
of Georgia in 2008, when it sent its
troops to protect two self-declared
independent regions and then
recognised them as independent
Ukraine's leaders say they fear
separatism in the Crimea.
In Washington, the White House
warned Russia to avoid "provocative"
acts. "We strongly support Ukraine's
territorial integrity and sovereignty.
We expect other nations to do the
same," said White House spokesman
Secretary of State John Kerry
spoke to Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov and urged Moscow
to work with the United States and
its European allies to help stabilise
"We believe that everybody now
needs to take a step back and avoid
any kind of provocations," Kerry
said at a joint news conference with
German Foreign Minister Frank-
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry
summoned Russia's acting
ambassador in Kiev for consultations.
e face-o between Moscow
and the West has revived memories
of the Cold War. Ukraine has
been in crisis since November,
when Yanukovich abandoned a
proposed trade pact with the EU
and turned instead towards Russia.
It escalated last week when scores
of demonstrators were killed, many
by police sharpshooters on rooftops,
and Yanukovich was toppled.
e fresh turmoil in Crimea sent
the Ukrainian hryvnia tumbling to
a new record low of 11 to the dollar
on the Reuters dealing platform.
Ukraine's new central bank governor
has abandoned a policy of propping
up the currency which was rapidly
draining its foreign reserves.
Yanukovich's overthrow will
undoubtedly cost Kiev a $15
billion Russian bailout o ered to
Yanukovich as a prize by Moscow
for spurning the EU trade pact.
Ukraine urgently needs other sources
of funding to stave o bankruptcy.
e International Monetary Fund
said it would send a team to Kiev in
the coming days.
New nance minister Oleksander
Shlapak said he hoped the IMF
would work on an aid package of
at least $15 billion. Ukraine says it
needs $35 billion over the next two
e minister also said he expected
the hryvnia to strengthen soon at
around 10 to the dollar.
No one was hurt when government
buildings were seized in Crimea's
regional capital Simferopol in the
early hours by Russian-speaking
gunmen in uniforms without
"We were building barricades in
the night to protect parliament.
en this young Russian guy came
up with a pistol ... we all lay down,
some more ran up, there was some
shooting and around 50 went in
through the window," Leonid
Khazanov, an ethnic Russian, told
"I asked them what they wanted,
and they said 'To make our own
decisions, not to have Kiev telling us
what to do'."
Acting interior minister Arsen
Avakov said the attackers had
automatic weapons and machine
e regional prime minister said he
had spoken to the people inside the
building by telephone, but they had
not made any demands or said why
they were there. ey had promised
to call him back but had not done so,
With the occupation apparently
still under way, the regional
parliament met in another part
of the building and voted to hold
referendum on May 25, the day
Ukraine plans to elect a new
president to replace Yanukovich.
e referendum, if passed, would
declare Crimea sovereign, with its
relationship to the rest of Ukraine
governed by treaty.
About 100 police gathered in
front of the parliament, and a
similar number of people carrying
Russian ags later marched up to the
building chanting "Russia, Russia"
and holding a sign calling for a
referendum on Crimea's status.
About 50 pro-Russia supporters
from Sevastopol, where part of
Russia's Black Sea navy is based,
lined up shoulder-to-shoulder facing
police. Gennady Basov, their leader,
said: "We need to organise ourselves
like this to maintain order while
this illegal and unconstitutional
government operates in Kiev."
e crowd cheered at news that
parliament had voted for the
However, elsewhere there was some
anger at the invasion of the regional
parliament and the ying of the
Alexander Vostruyev, 60, in a
leather cap and white beard, said:
"It's disgrace that the ag if a
foreign country is ying on our
parliament ... It's like a man coming
home to nd his wife in bed with
By nightfall, the Russian ag still
ew over the building, although
crowd in front began to dwindle.
e fear of military escalation
prompted expressions of concern
from the West, with NATO urging
Russia not to do anything that
would "escalate tension", although
the alliance said neither it nor the
United States had drawn up plans
for how they would respond if
Russia did intervene militarily.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw
Sikorski called the seizure of
government buildings in Crimea a
"very dangerous game".
Russia has a history of using its
military power to protect allies who
declare self rule in parts of other
ex-Soviet states, notably in Georgia
and also tiny Moldova. Members
of Crimea's Russian majority
have periodically agitated for
independence at times of tension
between Kiev and Moscow.
Still, any move by Moscow to
assist Crimeans in breaking away
from Ukraine --- a nation of 46
million people on the ramparts of
central Europe --- would be a more
direct challenge to the West than
any Russian act since the Cold War.
Germany would do everything
to support the new Ukrainian
government, Chancellor Angela
Merkel said in London after
talks with British Prime Minister
David Cameron, who said Russia
must respect Ukraine's territorial
Ukraine's new rulers pressed ahead
with e orts to restore stability to
the divided country, approving
formation of a national coalition
government with former economy
minister Arseny Yatseniuk as its
Yatseniuk told parliament that
Yanukovich had driven the country
to the brink of collapse. He
accused the deposed president of
stripping state co ers bare and said
$70 billion had disappeared into
o shore accounts.
" e state treasury has been
robbed and is empty," he said.
Yanukovich issued a statement
on ursday declaring he was still
president of Ukraine and warning
its "illegitimate" rulers that people
in the southeastern and southern
regions would never accept mob
Russian news agencies said he
planned to hold a news conference
in the southern Russian city of
Rostov-on-Don. --- Reuters
Armed men seize buildings, run up Russian f lag
People carry a giant Russian ag during a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, Crimea.
Internet giant Yahoo has branded
claims that United Kingdom spy
agency GCHQ intercepted and
stored webcam images of millions
of users as a "whole new level of
In its latest report on les leaked
by United States whistleblower
Edward Snowden, the Guardian
newspaper claims a surveillance
programme operated by GCHQ,
with aid from America's National
Security Agency (NSA), collected
still images of Yahoo webcam chats
Codenamed Optic Nerve, the
operation saved images to agency
databases, regardless of whether
individual users were suspected of
wrongdoing, the newspaper said.
In a furious reaction to the report,
a Yahoo spokeswoman said: "We
were not aware of, nor would we
condone, this reported activity.
" is report, if true, represents a
whole new level of violation of our
users' privacy that is completely
unacceptable and we strongly call
on the world's governments to
reform surveillance law consistent
with the principles we outlined in
"We are committed to preserving
our users' trust and security and
continue our e orts to expand
encryption across all of our services."
GCHQ declined to comment on
Dating between 2008 and 2010,
the GCHQ les reportedly show
in one six-month period alone, the
agency collected webcam imagery -
including substantial quantities of
sexually explicit communications -
from more than 1.8 million Yahoo
user accounts globally.
Optic Nerve began as a prototype
in 2008 and was still active in 2012,
e Guardian reported.
e system was used for
experiments in automated facial
recognition, to monitor GCHQ's
existing targets, and to discover new
targets of interest, the newspaper
Rather than collecting webcam
chats in their entirety, the
programme saved one image every
ve minutes from the users' feeds,
e Guardian said, while sexually
explicit webcam material proved to
be a particular problem for GCHQ.
A previously top-secret document,
found among 58,000 les taken by
Mr Snowden --- the former NSA
contractor who ed to Russia,
via Hong Kong, after leaking
the information to four locations
worldwide --- said: "Unfortunately
... it would appear that a surprising
number of people use webcam
conversations to show intimate
parts of their body to the other
"Also, the fact that the Yahoo
software allows more than one
person to view a webcam stream
without necessarily sending a
reciprocal stream means that it
appears sometimes to be used for
Between three and 11% of the
Yahoo webcam imagery harvested
by GCHQ contains "undesirable
nudity", the document reportedly
said. --- PA
Francesco Schettino, right, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner (pictured at
rear), boards a ferry as he leaves Giglio harbour yesterday.
Giglio Island (Italy)
Italian captain Francesco Schettino lashed
out at a media "frenzy" after his rst return
to the Costa Concordia, saying people who
accused him of abandoning the ship had not
understood "a bloody thing".
" ere is a frenzy that is making me
ner vous," Schettino told reporters yesterday
in the port o Tuscany where his luxury
cruise liner crashed on January 13, 2012
claiming 32 lives.
"You have to respect civility. I don't have
anything against you but if you provoke me,"
the infamous captain said in increasingly
angry remarks accompanied by gesticulation
and ner vous pacing on the dockside.
Asked why he had left the ship before
all the passengers had been evacuated,
Schettino shouted: "You're still talking about
abandoning the ship! It means you haven't
understood a bloody thing!"
Schettino's visit was part of a court-ordered
inspection in the ongoing trial against him
for manslaughter and abandoning ship - a
charge that earned him the tabloid nickname
Schettino says he fell onto a lifeboat as the
ship keeled over and then stayed on dry land
to co-ordinate the evacuation from there.
" e ship contains a lot of little secrets.
We have to understand what happened in a
proper and honest way," said Schettino.
"Other people have plea-bargained but
I'm putting my face here!" Schettino said,
touching his face, using an Italian expression
for making a personal commitment.
Schettino, who was himself refused a plea
bargain, said: " e trial will clear everything
Five people including Roberto Ferrarini,
the director of ship owner Costa Crociere's
crisis unit, and Jacob Rusli Bin, the
Indonesian helmsman, have plea-bargained.
Explaining his delay in giving the order for
the evacuation of the ship, Schettino said
it was done to avoid panic among the 4229
people on board.
e Costa Concordia, which was carrying
people from 70 countries including many
on the rst night of a Mediterranean cruise,
crashed into rocks just o Giglio as it
attempted a risky "salute" manoeuvre.
It capsized near the shoreline but was
righted last year in the biggest salvage
operation of its kind. It is due to be towed
for scrapping in June. --- AFP
captain lashes out
Dirty stethoscopes may be helping to spread
dangerous bugs around GP surgeries and
hospital wards, a study suggests.
One of the instruments was found to be more
contaminated with bacteria than the palm of a
doctor's hand after being used to examine 71
Among the microbes spreading from patients
was the potentially deadly superbug MRSA
(methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Dr Didier Pittet, from the World Health
Organisation Collaborating Centre on Patient
Safety at University of Geneva Hospitals
in Switzerland, said: "By considering that
stethoscopes are used repeatedly over the course
of a day, come directly into contact with patients'
skin, and may harbour several thousands of
bacteria (including MRSA) collected during
a previous physical examination, we consider
them as potentially signi cant vectors of
Dr Pittet's team conducted a study in which
71 patients were examined by one of three
doctors using sterile gloves and a stethoscope.
e stethoscope's diaphragm, the part of the
instrument that is pressed onto a patient's skin,
was more heavily contaminated than all regions
of the hand except the ngertips.
In addition the stethoscope tube was covered
in more bugs than the back of the doctor's
hand. --- PA
Dirty stethoscopes spread bugs
A pill to ward o ageing has
come a step closer after tests of a
rejuvenating drug that prolongs
Scientists found that activating
a protein called sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)
extended the lives of mice and
delayed the onset of age-related
ey believe their experiments
could lead to drugs that help to
keep people younger and healthier.
SIRT1 and its sister protein
SIRT2 are known to play a
important roles in metabolism
across a wide range of species.
ey are involved in DNA repair
and gene regulation, and may help
to prevent diabetes, heart disease
Researchers led by Rafael de
Cabo, from the United States
National Institutes of Health,
tested the e ects of a SIRT1-
SRT1720 on the health and
lifespan of mice.
Animals were fed a standard diet
supplemented with 100 milligrams
per kilogram of body weight of
SRT1720 from the age of six
e researchers found that
SRT1720 signi cantly extended
the average lifespan of mice by
8.8%. Mice fed the molecule were
also lighter and slimmer, with
better muscle function and co-
ordination throughout their lives.
Further studies showed that
SRT1720 supplementation led
to a heart-protective lowering of
harmful cholesterol and improved
insulin sensitivity, which could
help prevent diabetes.
Anti-in ammatory e ects were
also seen in various tissues. is
is important because chronic low-
level in ammation is believed
to contribute to ageing and age-
"Here, we show for the rst time
that a synthetic SIRT1 activator
extends lifespan and improves
healthspan of mice fed a standard
diet," Dr de Cabo said. --- PA
Pill to ward off ageing a step closer
Lily Allen's joy at winning a
music award turned to despair
within minutes when she
accidentally snapped the trophy
e singer was named Best
British Solo Artist at the NME
ceremony in London yesterday
and she proudly picked up the
statuette, which is shaped like a
st ipping the middle nger.
But the extended nger of the
gong snapped o at the afterparty.
Lily Allen's music award smashed in two
Federal MP Clive Palmer
has indicated he won't support
law changes that would allow
Qantas to be foreign-owned
as the embattled carrier's chief
prepares to meet union o cials
for crisis talks.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce will
face union o cials in Sydney
today after revealing plans to
axe 5000 jobs as part of a bid to
cut $2 billion in costs over three
Unions at the meeting are
expected to seek a commitment
to minimise job losses and
support employees through the
Qantas's hopes for a
government debt guarantee
appear to have been quashed
with the federal government
on ursday backing away from
Instead, Prime Minister Tony
Abbott says the government
would support a "level playing
eld" for the carrier, which
hints at a possible repeal of the
Qantas Sale Act which limits
foreign ownership levels.
Mr Palmer, whose Palmer
United Party could dictate
the fate of Qantas in the
new Senate from July 1, has
indicated his senators will block
any such move.
" ere will be no amendments
to the Qantas Sale Act that our
senators will vote for," the lower
house MP for the Queensland
seat of Fairfax told the ABC.
"I've discussed it with all
of them and there'll be no
amendments to the act and
that'll be it."
International Pilots Association
(AIPA) called on both major
federal political parties to
accept a compromise deal on
the Qantas Sale Act.
A compromise would remove
the 25 per cent limit on a
single foreign investor, 35%
cap on foreign ownership,
while retaining the cap on total
foreign ownership at 49%
" e current political debate
over the Qantas Sale Act is
unnecessarily absolutist," AIPA
president Nathan Safe said in a
statement on Friday.
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver
says he will seek a commitment
from Qantas to share "relevant
decisions that led to the job
cuts at the meeting .
"I don't think it's proper that
Alan Joyce stand up to the
world and say that we've got
to get $2 billion of savings and
5000 jobs," he told ABC radio.
Mr Joyce cautioned the
unions against any industrial
only add "oil to the re".
Qantas chief to meet
unions over 5000 job cuts
Publisher of science journals
Springer overnight it would
scrap 16 papers from its archives
after they were revealed to be
e fake papers had been
on computer science and
engineering whose proceedings
were published in specialised,
"We are in the process of taking
down the papers as quickly as
possible," the German-based
publisher said in a statement.
" is means that they will be
removed, not retracted, since they
are all nonsense."
e embarrassing lapse was
exposed by French computer
scientist Cyril Labbe of the
Joseph Fourier University in
He also spotted more than
100 other "nonsense" papers
unwittingly published by the New
York-based Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers, the
journal Nature reported.
Labbe, 41, has been exploring
how to detect fake papers written
with a program called SCIgen.
e programme cranks out
stu ed with randomly-selected
computer and engineering terms.
Labbe spotted the frauds by
searching for telltale SCIgen
One example of an article
generated by SCIgen reads:
"Constant-time technology and
access points have garnered great
interest from both futurists and
physicists in the last several years.
After years of extensive research
into superpages, we con rm the
appropriate uni cation of 128-
bit architectures and checksums."
e program was devised
in 2005 by researchers at the
Massachusetts Institute of
ey used it to concoct
meaningless papers that were
accepted by conferences. e
researchers later revealed the
hoax and exposed aws in
"We are looking into our
procedures to nd the weakness
that could allow something like
this to happen, and we will adapt
our processes to ensure that it
does not happen again," Springer
said. --- AFP
fooled by gibberish
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